Philosophy & History
While Rush Creek Lodge is a brand new lodge, our ties to the Yosemite area reach back to 2002, when we purchased the nearby Evergreen Lodge as a means to self-fund a Youth Program teaching job and life skills to under-served Bay Area youth. We are thrilled to be able to expand our Youth Program, environmental mission, and meaningful approach to hospitality to Rush Creek. Over the years we have worked hard to be deserving of praise from a variety of well-respected travel authorities. We’ve earned the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, Lonely Planet’s Top Choice award, are Recommended by Fodor’s, a Frommer’s Favorite, and Sunset Magazine calls the Evergreen “a hidden gem.” We’re looking forward to more of the same at Rush Creek Lodge.
As owners of both Rush Creek Lodge and the Evergreen Lodge, we feel lucky to be stewards of such special places, and we are committed to making sure both properties continue to create lasting memories for generations to come. While certain traditions have become things of the past (like bootlegging and poor shower pressure!), we are proud and excited that both properties now offer an all-around lodging and guest experience that is unparalleled in the Yosemite area.
Our goal is to provide gracious and friendly service, quality products, private and communal settings, and a huge array of opportunities for you to enjoy your time with us and to explore the Yosemite area. We hope you will find many ways to create your ideal experience here.
Simply stated, we want you to be blown away by your experience with us and to not want to leave. We hope you will return and become a regular part of the Rush Creek and Evergreen traditions and family. And if you can’t come back, we want the lodge to be a place you will always remember warmly.
We look forward to seeing you here, and we hope that Rush Creek Lodge brings you as much joy and pleasure as it does us.
Lee Zimmerman and Brian Anderluh
Rush Creek History
Rush Creek had its heyday during California’s Gold Rush. Gold was discovered in California in January 1848 at Sutter’s Mill, just 125 miles north of Rush Creek. By 1849 hundreds of thousands of immigrants – now known as 49er’s – were flocking to California’s Gold Country in search of their fortunes. Historical records describe the Rush Creek property’s use for gold prospecting, mining and processing.
A trail for miners reached from Stockton and other areas of the Central Valley to the gold camps of southern Tuolumne County including Sonora, Chinese Camp, and Big Oak Flat. Prospects and mining operations dotted the landscape of the foothills around Rush Creek and Big Oak Flat. Eventually wagon trails crisscrossed the area, and in 1874 the Big Oak Flat Road into Yosemite Valley was completed, passing through Crocker Meadow immediately southwest of the Rush Creek property. This route carried the majority of Park traffic from Central and Northern California before the completion of the Yosemite Valley Railroad and accompanying wagon road in 1907.
With the Big Oak Flat Road into Yosemite passing through his Ranch, Henry R. Crocker built and operated “Crocker’s Sierra Resort” in what is today known as Crocker’s Meadow. A mile away the most important mine in the district, the Santa Maria, was enjoying much greater success with their production. This lead “Crocker’s Sierra Resort” to become the post office and social and commercial center for the region. Locals referred to it as “Crocker’s Station” or simply “Sequoia” at times.
By 1888, Crocker was assessed $500 for the value of his Quartz mine, arrastra, and house on the property. Ten years later the value of his mine was so low that the County Assessor dropped it from the rolls. As the saying goes, it was a mining claim that just didn’t pan out!
Enter Thomas Jefferson Quimby who continued the quest for ore. The mine was eventually abandoned for several years, and then claimed in 1911 by Thomas Knowles, who also had little luck finding valuable minerals at Rush Creek. However, the old arrastra and other historic remains from the Gold Rush era still exist onsite at Rush Creek and in the neighboring forest.
Before Highway 120 was constructed in the 1960’s, the main road into Yosemite actually passed right through Rush Creek. The upper road near Villas 4-7 is in fact that exact road. Around the time Highway 120 was built, a guest house was constructed at Rush Creek to serve Yosemite visitors. The guest house also served as a one room schoolhouse for the children living nearby.
We’re always on the hunt for more historic information about Rush Creek, so if you or someone you know has ties to the history of the area, we’d love to hear from you at [email protected]!